- Emergency declaration would help Trump bypass Congress to redirect fund for border wall
- The move likely to bring swift legal and legislative challenges
US President Trump has declared a national emergency in a bid to bypass Congress and secure funding for his border wall with Mexico, a move that Democrats vowed to challenge as unconstitutional.
Trump announced the controversial move from the Rose Garden yesterday and is expected to use the powers to appropriate around $8 billion (£6 billion) in funds from the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury and the Department of Defence.
Trump said he will sign the final papers on the national emergency when he finishes the press conference.
“We will then be sued,” after signing the declaration, he said. “And we will possibly get a bad ruling. And then we'll end up in the Supreme Court.”
Trump has long floated the idea of declaring a national emergency, which would give him extra powers to unilaterally move around funds, as a way of circumventing Congress and ensuring he could deliver his campaign promise to build a Mexico border wall.
However the prospect of a lengthy battle in America's courts – a legal challenge is all but inevitable – and vocal opposition from scores of Republican senators was thought to have convinced Trump not to go down that path.
Trump will take the action "to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said shortly before the Senate passed the spending bill on Thursday.
Signing the spending bill would bring an end to a rolling, two-month battle over government funding. But by declaring an emergency, Trump opens a new confrontation -- and creates some of the riskiest legal peril of his term, reported Reuters.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump's Democratic nemesis in Congress, earlier warned that declaring such an emergency would be a "gross abuse of the power of the presidency."
New York state Attorney General Letitia James said yesterday she would challenge Trump's use of his national emergency powers in order to build a wall on the southern border, reported AFP.
"Declaring a national emergency without legitimate cause could create a Constitutional crisis," James said in a statement.
Republican Senator John Cornyn told reporters on Capitol Hill he had concerns about an emergency declaration. He said it "would not be a practical solution, because there would be a lawsuit filed immediately and the money would be presumably balled up."
Democrats in a number of states, including California and New York, look set to launch legal challenges as soon as Trump makes his announcement.